Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 1, pp e3–e8 | Cite as

Epidemiology today: Mitigating threats to an ecosystem

  • Nancy Kreiger
Invited Commentary


Ecosystems comprise all the living and non-living things in a particular area (e.g., rain forest, desert), which interact and maintain equilibrium. Loss of equilibrium (e.g., clear-cutting trees in a rain forest) can mean the decline of the ecosystem, unless it is able to adapt to the new circumstances. The term “knowledge ecosystem” describes an approach to managing knowledge in a particular field; the components of this system include the people, the technological skills and resources, and information or data. Epidemiology can be thought of as a knowledge ecosystem and, like ecological systems, its existence can be threatened, from both internal and external forces that may alter its equilibrium. This paper describes some threats to the epidemiology knowledge ecosystem, how these threats came about, and what responses we can make that may serve to mitigate those threats.

Key Words

Ecosystems knowledge epidemiology risk 


Les écosystèmes comprennent toutes les choses vivantes et non vivantes d’une région donnée (p. ex., forêt pluviale, désert) qui sont en interaction et en équilibre. La perte d’équilibre (p. ex., la coupe à blanc d’une forêt pluviale) peut signifier le déclin de l’écosystème, sauf s’il est capable de s’adapter aux nouvelles conditions. L’expression «écosystème de connaissances» désigne une approche de la gestion des connaissances dans un domaine particulier; les éléments de ce système sont des personnes, des compétences et ressources technologiques, ainsi que de l’information ou des données. L’épidémiologie peut être considérée comme un écosystème de connaissances; comme les systèmes écologiques, son existence peut être menacée par des facteurs internes ou externes qui peuvent perturber son équilibre. Nous décrivons ici certaines des menaces à l’écosystème de connaissances de l’épidémiologie, l’origine de ces menaces et les réponses susceptibles de les atténuer.

Mots Clés

écosystème connaissance épidémiologie risque 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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